Events

MICHAEL SHERMER

Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye. Hosted by Philip Maldari.

When: January 13, 2016 @ 7:30 pm

Where: St John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Avenue, Berkeley

201601137:30 pm 201601137:30 pm America/Los_Angeles MICHAEL SHERMER KPFA Radio 94.1FM & St. John’s Presbyterian Church present: St John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Avenue, Berkeley Advance tickets: $12 : brownpapertickets.com :: T: 800-838-3006 or Pegasus (3 sites), Moe’s, Walden Pond Bookstore, Diesel a Bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway’s, S.F. – Modern Times. $15 door “Michael Shermer is a beacon of reason in an ocean of … Continued St John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Avenue, Berkeley

KPFA Radio 94.1FM & St. John’s Presbyterian Church present:

Michael Shermer by Jeremy Danger
Michael Shermer by Jeremy Danger

St John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Avenue, Berkeley
Advance tickets: $12 : brownpapertickets.com :: T: 800-838-3006
or Pegasus (3 sites), Moe’s, Walden Pond Bookstore, Diesel a Bookstore, Mrs. Dalloway’s,

S.F. – Modern Times. $15 door

“Michael Shermer is a beacon of reason in an ocean of irrationality.”
–Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Dense with facts, convincing arguments, and curious statistics, [Skeptic] is an ingenious collection … for readers who believe that explaining stuff is a good idea.”
—Kirkus Reviews

For fifteen years, Michael Shermer has written a column for Scientific American magazine that synthesizes scientific concepts and theory for a general audience. His trademark combination of deep scientific understanding and an entertaining writing style has thrilled his huge and devoted audience for years. Now, in SKEPTIC: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye, seventy-five of these columns are available together for the first time. His many previous books include: The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice and Freedom, and The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Conspiracies and Politics—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.

Michael Shermer is the author of The Moral Arc, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and eight other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University.  As a public intellectual he regularly contributes editorials, book reviews and essays to the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications. He has appeared on the Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose and numerous other shows, as well as in countless science and history documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, the History Channel, and the Science Channel. Dr. Shermer was the cohost and coproducer of the 13-hour television series, Exploring the Unknown.

KPFA benefit

  • ACE ACME

    Dr. Shermer’s ignorance about 9/11 as exhibited on the 1/10/16 Sunday Show is quite shocking. He confidently asserts a 2002-era collapse theory about the WTC towers, apparently unaware that the official 2005 report repudiated that theory.

    His dismissal as “smoke from fires” of the mysterious jets of pulverized building materials emanating from
    isolated windows as much as 40 stories below the active collapse zone–floors that had no fires–is quite reckless.

    He blithely claims there’s no mystery to WTC7’s collapse, apparently unaware that the NYT said engineers were baffled by it, the FEMA report said it could not explain it, and it took NIST several years to come up with a plausible-sounding story. His claim that the steel structure sagged and got weaker from fire damage is contrary to NIST’s collapse initiation mechanism, which would be impossible had the steel sagged.

    He then argues from incredulity that explosive or incendiary charges could not have been planted in the three buildings because of the building security. Apparently he does not know that most of the buildings’
    core columns were accessible from the elevator shafts, and that the twin towers had an elevator renovations project going on in the towers’ 15 miles of elevator shafts in the 9 months before 9/11 that would have provided cover for construction-type activity going on in the shafts. Apparently he does not know that the four floors immediately above the floor where the collapse allegedly began in WTC7 were all, according to FEMA, vacant.

    He then claims it would take hundreds or even thousands of charges to take a tower down. He does not explain why it would take so many charges to do a job that he believes was caused by fire and weak
    floor anchors. Anything fire can do, incendiaries can do better.

  • ACE ACME

    Notes from the radio interview, with comments.

    The first 20 minutes reveals Dr. Shermer’s intellectual history—freeing himself from dogmatic christian doctrine, dabbling in tonics to improve performance in competitive bicycling, challenging alternative medicines.

    By 24 minutes he’s explaining that the towers fell because flimsy floor anchors snapped and collapsing floors created a cascading effect of pancaking floors, claiming “there’s been extensive studies of this and how buildings fall.” Apparently he doesn’t know that his theory, published in 2002 in FEMA’s $600,000 report, was rejected by NIST’s $20 million study and he is practically alone in subscribing
    to it.

    He then implies (wrongly) that controlled demolition is always done from the bottom up, and that since the towers collapsed from the top down, this is inconsistent with controlled demolition.

    The mysterious jets of pulverized building materials emanating from isolated windows as much as 40 stories below the active collapse zone (“squibs”) he dismisses as “smoke from the fires” even though most of these came from floors that had no fires.

    With WTC7 he blithely tells there’s no mystery to its collapse, apparently unaware that the NYT said engineers were baffled by it, the FEMA report said it could not explain it, and it took NIST several years
    to come up with a plausible-sounding story. His claim that the steel structure sagged and got weaker from fire damage is contrary to NIST’s collapse initiation mechanism, which would be impossible if the steel had sagged.

    He then argues from incredulity that explosive or incendiary charges could not have been planted in the three buildings because of the building security. Apparently he does not know that most of the buildings’ core columns were accessible from the elevator shafts, and that the twin towers had an elevator renovations project going on in the towers’ 15 miles of elevator shafts in the 9 months before 9/11 that would have provided cover for construction-type activity going on in the shafts. Apparently he does not know that in WTC7 the four floors immediately above the floor where the collapse allegedly began were all, according to FEMA, vacant.

    He then claims it would take hundreds of even thousands of charges to take a tower down. He does not explain why it would take so many charges to do a job that he believes was caused by fire and weak
    floor anchors. Anything fire can do, incendiaries can do better. Apparently Dr. Shermer does not know that explosives expert Dr. Van Romero opined that a few charges in key places could bring the towers down. Apparently Dr. Shermer does not know that according to the discredited “pancake theory” he advocates, a very few failing truss anchors could start a chain reaction that “unzipped” the floors from the outer walls and brought the towers down.

    He claims it was necessary to spend weeks breaking through drywall to plant explosive devices, but does not explain why this is difficult, why it is necessary at the WTC, and what drywall needs to be broken. (Drywall is removed before conventional demolitions to avoid the nuisance of the dust.)

    He then claims that the buildings began to collapse from the exact impact floors, and wonders how demolitionists would know what floors the planes would hit. In the case of WTC1, the Sauret video shows
    that the collapse began well above the impact zone. Radio beacons such are used at airports would, if planted inside the buildings, allow the planes to be flown in on the autopilot. Even if the exact impact floors were not known in advance, simply planting redundant charges up and down the elevator shafts would allow the appropriate charges to be selected under computer control for wireless activation.

    At 29 minutes they start talking about JFK. He claims first that no JFK conspiracy theorists has ever come up with a who-dunnit if it wasn’t LHO, and the claims that they’ve come up with 20 different
    suspects.

    At 33 he claims that before 9/11 nobody was thinking about the possibility of such an attack. Apparently he didn’t know that the al Qaeda plan to fly hijacked airliners into landmark buildings (including the Pentagon and the WTC) had been known to US authorities since 1995, and did not know that both the UK and Germany warned of upcoming attacks using hijacked commercial aircraft.

    At 35 he’s claiming that the CIA is too incompetent to pull off 9/11, and people can’t keep their mouth shut, and basically conspiracies are impossible.

    At 41 a questioner challenges Shermer’s claims that acupuncture has been debunked.

    At 48:00 Shermer reiterates the claim of alleged impossibility of coordinating the plane strike with the demolition charges.

    53—Discussion of Alan Dulles and the JFK assassination.

    55 –Discussion of tests of the carbine and the time necessary to get off the shots.

  • Bret McIntyre

    With all due respect, ACE, I felt like the 9/11 overtone to the evening brought most folks down. We were there to hear about the new book and to hear what Dr. Shermer had to say about skepticism. I was not there to hear your group’s conspiracy theories, as intriguing as they may be. I understand your desire to fire a point across the bow, but you guys were an unwelcome distraction from my point of view. Again, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it was pretty annoying.

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